Offers an honest, often startling portrait of Plymouth Colony, including the legal system, religion, agriculture, family life, women's roles, alcohol use, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, suspicious deaths, and violent crimes. Reprint. 12,500 first printing.
For the Puritan separatists of seventeenth-century New England, "godliness," as manifested by the body, was the sign of election, and the body, with its material demands and metaphorical significance, became the axis upon which all colonial activity and religious meaning turned. Drawing on literature, documents, and critical studies of embodiment as practiced in the New England colonies, Martha L. Finch launches a fascinating investigation into the scientific, theological, and cultural conceptions of corporeality at a pivotal moment in Anglo-Protestant history. Not only were settlers forced to interact bodily with native populations and other "new world" communities, they also fought starvation and illness; were whipped, branded, hanged, and murdered; sang, prayed, and preached; engaged in sexual relations; and were baptized according to their faith. All these activities shaped the colonists' understanding of their existence and the godly principles of their young society. Finch focuses specifically on Plymouth Colony and those who endeavored to make visible what they believed to be God's divine will. Quakers, Indians, and others challenged these beliefs, and the constant struggle to survive, build cohesive communities, and regulate behavior forced further adjustments. Merging theological, medical, and other positions on corporeality with testimonies on colonial life, Finch brilliantly complicates our encounter with early Puritan New England.
Seasons of Misery offers a boldly original account of early English settlement in American by placing catastrophe and crisis at the center of the story. Donegan argues that the constant state of suffering and uncertainty decisively formed the colonial identity and produced the first distinctly colonial literature.
With the recent explosion of high-profile court cases and staggering jury awards, America's justice system has moved to the forefront of our nation's consciousness. Yet while the average citizen is bombarded with information about a few sensational cases--such as the multi-million dollar damages awarded a woman who burned herself with McDonald's coffee-- most Americans are unaware of the truly dramatic transformation our courts and judicial system have undergone over the past three decades, and of the need to reform the system to adapt to that transformation. In Reforming the Civil Justice System, Larry Kramer has compiled a work that charts these revolutionary changes and offers solutions to the problems they present. Organized into three parts, the book investigates such topics as settlement incentives and joint tortfeasors, substance and form in the treatment of scientific evidence after Daubert v. Merrell Dow, and guiding jurors in valuing pain and suffering damages. Reforming the Civil Justice System offers feasible solutions that can realistically be adopted as our civil justice system continues to be refined and improved.
A fascinating examination of how Americans think about and write about witches, from the 'real' witches tried and sometimes executed in early New England to modern re-imaginings of witches as pagan priestesses, comic-strip heroines and feminist icons. The first half of the book is a thorough re-reading of the original documents describing witchcraft prosecutions from 1640-1700 and a re-thinking of these sources as far less coherent and trustworthy than most historians have considered them to be. The second half of the book examines how these historical narratives have transformed into myths of witchcraft still current in American society, writing and visual culture. The discussion includes references to everything from Increase Mather and Edgar Allan Poe to Joss Whedon (the writer/director of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which includes a Wiccan character) and The Blair Witch Project.
In recent years more of his papers have been discovered and stand alongside his journal as important source material for the early colonial period in the Atlantic region. Transcribed from original documents and extensively annotated by Marianne Stopp, the
One young food writer's search for America's lost wild foods, from New Orleans croakers to Illinois Prairie hen, with Mark Twain as his guide. In the winter of 1879, Mark Twain paused during a tour of Europe to compose a fantasy menu of the American dishes he missed the most. He was desperately sick of European hotel cooking, and his menu, made up of some eighty regional specialties, was a true love letter to American food: Lake Trout, from Tahoe. Hot biscuits, Southern style. Canvasback-duck, from Baltimore. Black-bass, from the Mississippi. When food writer Andrew Beahrs first read Twain's menu in the classic work A Tramp Abroad, he noticed the dishes were regional in the truest sense of the word-drawn fresh from grasslands, woods, and waters in a time before railroads had dissolved the culinary lines between Hannibal, Missouri, and San Francisco. These dishes were all local, all wild, and all, Beahrs feared, had been lost in the shift to industrialized food. In Twain's Feast, Beahrs sets out to discover whether eight of these forgotten regional specialties can still be found on American tables, tracing Twain's footsteps as he goes. Twain's menu, it turns out, was also a memoir and a map. The dishes he yearned for were all connected to cherished moments in his life-from the New Orleans croakers he loved as a young man on the Mississippi to the maple syrup he savored in Connecticut, with his family, during his final, lonely years. Tracking Twain's foods leads Beahrs from the dwindling prairie of rural Illinois to a six-hundred-pound coon supper in Arkansas to the biggest native oyster reef in San Francisco Bay. He finds pockets of the country where Twain's favorite foods still exist or where intrepid farmers, fishermen, and conservationists are trying to bring them back. In Twain's Feast, he reminds us what we've lost as these wild foods have disappeared from our tables, and what we stand to gain from their return. Weaving together passages from Twain's famous works and Beahrs's own adventures, Twain's Feast takes us on a journey into America's past, to a time when foods taken fresh from grasslands, woods, and waters were at the heart of American cooking.
Though few of us now live close to the soil, the world we inhabit has been sculpted by our long national saga of settlement. At the heart of our identity lies the notion of the family farm, as shaped by European history and reshaped by the vast opportunities of the continent. It lies at the heart of Jane Brox's personal story, too: she is the daughter of immigrant New England farmers whose way of life she memorialized in her first two books but has not carried on. In this clear-eyed, lyrical account, Brox twines the two narratives, personal and historical, to explore the place of the family farm as it has evolved from the pilgrims' brutal progress at Plymouth to the modern world, where much of our food is produced by industrial agriculture while the small farm is both marginalized and romanticized. In considering the place of the farm, Brox also considers the rise of textile cities in America, which encroached not only upon farms and farmers but upon the sense of commonality that once sustained them; and she traces the transformation of the idea of wilderness--and its intricate connection to cultivation--which changed as our ties to the land loosened, as terror of the wild was replaced by desire for it. Exploring these strands with neither judgment nor sentimentality, Brox arrives at something beyond a biography of the farm: a vivid depiction of the half-life it carries on in our collective imagination.
The idea that 'home' is a special place, a separate place, a place where we can be our true selves, is so obvious to us today that we barely pause to think about it. But, as Judith Flanders shows in this revealing book, 'home' is a relatively new concept. When in 1900 Dorothy assured the citizens of Oz that 'There is no place like home', she was expressing a view that was a culmination of 300 years of economic, physical and emotional change. In The Making of Home, Flanders traces the evolution of the house across northern Europe and America from the sixteenth to the early twentieth century, and paints a striking picture of how the homes we know today differ from homes through history. The transformation of houses into homes, she argues, was not a private matter, but an essential ingredient in the rise of capitalism and the birth of the Industrial Revolution. Without 'home', the modern world as we know it would not exist, and as Flanders charts the development of ordinary household objects - from cutlery, chairs and curtains, to fitted kitchens, plumbing and windows - she also peels back the myths that surround some of our most basic assumptions, including our entire notion of what it is that makes a family. As full of fascinating detail as her previous bestsellers, The Making of Home is also a book teeming with original and provocative ideas.
Denis Lacorne identifies two competing narratives defining the American identity. The first narrative, derived from the philosophy of the Enlightenment, is essentially secular. Associated with the Founding Fathers and reflected in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers, this line of reasoning is predicated on separating religion from politics to preserve political freedom from an overpowering church. Prominent thinkers such as Voltaire, Thomas Paine, and Jean-Nicolas Démeunier, who viewed the American project as a radical attempt to create a new regime free from religion and the weight of ancient history, embraced this American effort to establish a genuine "wall of separation" between church and state. The second narrative is based on the premise that religion is a fundamental part of the American identity and emphasizes the importance of the original settlement of America by New England Puritans. This alternative vision was elaborated by Whig politicians and Romantic historians in the first half of the nineteenth century. It is still shared by modern political scientists such as Samuel Huntington. These thinkers insist America possesses a core, stable "Creed" mixing Protestant and republican values. Lacorne outlines the role of religion in the making of these narratives and examines, against this backdrop, how key historians, philosophers, novelists, and intellectuals situate religion in American politics.